Nagpur: “As the Western Coal Fields (WCL) mines are there in Walni, Pipla and Silwada villages under Saoner tahsil, the well-water in those areas has dried up. The WCL should therefore take necessary measures to ensure drinking-water supply to these affected villages,” directed Guardian Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule to WCL management.
He said this while presiding over a meeting of WCL officials in the prominent presence of Nagpur collector Sachin Kurve.
It may be noted that the WCL excavates coal from the ground and allows the ditches, pot-holes and mined area to remain dug up, which in fact should be refilled with sand, as per rule. Bawankule pointed out that such dug up portions of earth, not being refilled with sand, are causing cracks in the village-houses. Not only this, whatever amount of water springs up during excavation, the WCL water releases it in nearby nullahs. As a result, the water in nearby resources get contaminated, and is not worth drinking.
Bawankule also expressed his concern over water crisis in Bina-Bhanegaon village near Silwada-Khaparkheda, all due to WCL mines, and whenever farmers approach WCL with their problem of water crisis, the WCL officials pay no heed to them. He directed the WCL management to take suitable measures to supply drinkable water to Bina-Bhanegaon village. He also said that instead of diverting water to nullahs it may be diverted to the fields of farmers for irrigation purpose. He directed the WCL management to make use of ash, coming out of power plants, for refilling the dug out ground, and if need be there, make changes in WCL Rules.
WCL must provide jobs with compensation due to project-affected
Guardian Minster directed the WCL management that the project-affected of wherever the mines have been opened or proposed to be opened must be given compensation due, on the basis of 7/12 document, and also provide jobs to at least one from each affected family. If skill-based jobs are provided in the WCL, it will benefit the company.
The Minister observed that there were several such problems in Bhanegaon, Walni, Umred and other coal mines areas, but the WCL, rather than solving the problems, is making them more complicated. There are Rs 400 crore required for project affected, but the provision of mere Rs 150 crore is being shown. Those project-affected, who have not received compensation, have been assured of payment of compensation within 10 days from the provision of Rs 150 crore.
Land of 200 farmers has been acquired, but no compensation given
About a year ago, open cast mines at Makardhokda-One under Umred area were started, on November 1, 2014, for which the land of 200 farmers was acquired, but none of them has been provided any employment. As a result, the villagers of Makardhokda have stopped the mines-work with effect from Nov 22, 2015, in protest. The affected farmers have accused WCL of deceiving the farmers whose land has been acquired. There are 400 aspirants for jobs. but no one has been obliged so far. The villagers did bring their grievances to the notice of Union Ministers Nitiin Gadkari and Hansraj Ahir and also Guardian Minister Bawankule, but in vain.
Helpless and constrained miners have stopped working. When chief general manager WCL, T N Jha was contacted in this regard, he admitted that the mines was closed. He skipped the queries like when the mine was started, how many were employed, how many more would be employed, how much coal was procured, and how much loss was caused, etc. On the other hand, the farmers are in severe anger against WCL management and they are continuing their protest.